How To Make Money On the Backs of Mexicans, Olive Oil Edition

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Laila Derakhshanian
Last week in our Tijuana Sí! column, I wrote about one of my favorite food products anywhere in the world: Misiones de Baja California, an olive oil so good I feel lucky to be close enough to get my hands on it.

Jay Porter loves it too. He's the owner of El Take It Easy and the Linkery in San Diego. One of his restaurants sells fancy homemade sausages; the other is a pipirisnais gastropub. He is really the first American restaurateur to promote Baja olive oil in a big way, and he uses Rancho Cortés oil exclusively in his kitchens.

While he's promoting the wonderful products of Baja California, he's also making fistfuls of money on the backs of Mexicans. Here's how you make a quick $5,000 if you've got your conscience locked away somewhere where it can't interfere:

  1. Buy 80 liters of olive oil from the press for about $7.50 a liter.
  2. Drive 75 miles north.
  3. Buy 200 fancy glass bottles and some pinche fresa labels.
  4. Fill the bottles, 400 mL each.
  5. Sell the bottles to Whole Foods-weary North Park hipsters for $30 each, which works out to $75 a liter.
According to his website, Ensenada Olive Oil, Porter has sold two batches from different ranches. The going price for olive oil in the Valle de Guadalupe tops out at about US$12 a liter; at the prices Porter is setting, it's more expensive than Scotch whisky. Let's hope he's sharing some of that profit with the people who produce it.

In keeping with this week's print edition, our hands to the Mexicans who work hard to make a great product; our fists to profiteering crackers like Jay Porter. Buy Misiones de Baja California oil, the best in the world, but buy it in Mexico. It's worth the trip, if for no other reason than to put a stick in the eye of people like this.

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